This year’s MLB draft will be just 5 rounds; several notable former Phillies selected in later rounds may have never played for the team in this scenario.
As Major League Baseball still contemplates and works on a return plan for the 2020 season — with the Philadelphia Phillies possibly realigned to one of three 10-team divisions — one thing that is now certain is how the 2020 amateur draft will unfold.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, this year’s amateur draft set for Wednesday, June 10, will be limited to five rounds. Teams are eligible to use their allotted money as they see fit, while undrafted players would be eligible to sign for a maximum of $20,000 starting Saturday, June 13.
Passan noted that despite this agreement, a “significant divide” exists among teams, as most front offices sought and proposed to the union a longer, 10-round draft.
“[They recognized] the value reaped even in later rounds can be immense,” Passan tweets. “Pushback to keep the draft as short as possible from some owners was strong.”
Ultimately, the two sides did not come to an agreement. An interesting twist of the rejected 10-round proposal was two five-round drafts. In this scenario, teams would not have been allowed to use their slot money in the second half to pay their selections in the first half. Also, as part of the proposal to the union, Passan reports, there was a limit to the number of undrafted players teams could sign,
The first-year player draft is typically 40 rounds; so, now, it is one-eighth of its usual length for 2020. Still, MLB clubs will select in reverse order of their records from the 2019 season. Other pick placements are determined by transfer of selection rights from one club to another as compensation for losing certain free agents, among others.
A shorter draft only affects that, and, of course, the thousands of players who presumed they would hear their names selected to begin their “road to the show.”
In 2014, first baseman Rhys Hoskins would have just made the cut-off, as he was the team’s fifth-round selection. Seven years prior, the Phillies selected outfielder Michael Taylor in the fifth round, and dealt him a couple years later as part of the trade to acquire Hall of Fame RHP Roy Halladay from the Toronto Blue Jays.
Several notable former major league Phillies players, selected in recent drafts rounds 6 or later in the Citizens Bank Park era (since 2004), may have never donned red pinstripes if this new format existed all along.